The University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital is the major tertiary-healthcare teaching and research facility in River State that provides excellent medical services, manpower training and research for the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge and practice of medicine. Besides offering medical services, the hospital also provides clinical education to medical students, residents, nurses, community health students and other cadres of healthcare professionals.
It is on this mandate the Pediatrics Ophthalmology unit of the Department Ophthalmology facilitated a training course on Orthoptics, in August 2023. The week long Orthoptics training course which is the second edition centered on training professionals beyond the state.
In simple terms Orthoptics is the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of irregularities of the eyes, especially those of the eye muscles that prevent normal binocular vision. It is the art of treating defective visual habits, defects of binocular vision and muscle imbalance ( strabismus/crossed eyes) by visual training and visual exercise.
According to the course coordinator, Dr. Helen Jumbo “the training course is aimed at creating a mechanism where patient presented with Strabismus and amblyopia can be handled properly, through evaluation and diagnosis while refer patient with surgical issue to the appropriate place for surgery”.
She also hinted that the course is geared towards empowering participants with the needed skill and knowledge of handling cases of strabismus (crossed eyes) which is treatable .
The Head of department Prof Sydney Ejimadu and Prof. Adedayo Adio (Head of Unit, Pediatrics Ophthalmology) were part of the coordinating team, and facilitated the quality of the course content with NIPOS ( Nigerian Pedeatric, Opthalmology And Stribimus Society) guidelines .
The Orthoptics training course had a lot of benefits attached with it, reasons being that UPTH pioneered the training in West Africa having globally certified orthoptist as facilitators. This has opened opportunities for ophthalmologist, optometrist who had little or no knowledge on Orthoptics to be able to handle or treat cases of strabismus (crosses eye).
This second Orthoptics training course had opthalmologist, optometrist in the state and across Nigeria as participants , some sponsored by renowned optical clinics/hospital.